What You Resist Persists: How Fighting Anxiety Makes It Worse

What You Resist Persists: How Fighting Anxiety Makes It Worse

Oct 27, 2023

Oct 27, 2023

By Dr. Holly Batchelder

Managing anxiety is a common struggle, but what if the way we're handling it is all wrong? Let's explore the counterintuitive nature of anxiety management and how some strategies can be self-defeating.

The Zero-Anxiety Myth

We often hear that living without anxiety should be our aim. But here's the truth: some level of anxiety can actually be useful. Instead of a glitch to be fixed, consider it more like a feedback mechanism.

The Risk of Resistance

Pushing against anxiety usually backfires. Instead of dampening the emotional noise, it amplifies it. It's like arguing with a GPS that's trying to reroute you; neither of you wins, and you end up more lost than before.

The Value of Acceptance

Rather than wrestling with your anxiety, consider a different approach: acceptance and compassion. Think of it less as a constant annoyance and more as an occasional consultant, helping you identify areas in your life that could use some adjustment.

Exposure Therapy: A Tool for Resilience

Engaging directly with your fears through exposure therapy doesn't just reduce anxiety. It builds resilience. It’s akin to learning to swim by jumping into the deep end—challenging but ultimately empowering.

Other Treatment Avenues: The Role of ACT

While exposure therapy is effective for many, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is another evidence-based approach gaining traction. ACT focuses on accepting your emotional state and committing to actions that align with your values, even in the presence of anxiety. This method encourages a more harmonious relationship with your emotional landscape, offering another path to managing anxiety effectively.

Wrapping It Up

Anxiety doesn't have to be your enemy. It can serve as a helpful guide if you let it. The trick is to shift how you view anxiety—move from fighting it to understanding it. Teaming up with a skilled therapist can offer you practical tools to manage your emotional life better. It's not about endless struggle; it's about embracing change and growth.

References

Abramowitz, J. S., Deacon, B. J., & Whiteside, S. P. (2019). Exposure therapy for anxiety: Principles and practice. Guilford Publications.

Smith, B. M., Smith, G. S., & Dymond, S. (2020). Relapse of anxiety‐related fear and avoidance: Conceptual analysis of treatment with acceptance and commitment therapy. Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior, 113(1), 87-104.

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Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

© Holly Batchelder, PhD PLLC

Online Therapy
Proud Member of TherapyDen

Serving PSYPACT states via telehealth

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

© Holly Batchelder, PhD PLLC

Online Therapy
Proud Member of TherapyDen

Serving PSYPACT states via telehealth

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Disclaimer

This website serves informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional psychological advice. Engaging with the content here does not establish a doctor-patient relationship with Holly Batchelder, PhD. For any specific concerns, consult a qualified healthcare provider. Electronic communications with Holly Batchelder, PhD, are not considered privileged doctor-patient interactions. Holly Batchelder, PhD, PLLC © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

© Holly Batchelder, PhD PLLC